Modern Democracy–Success Or Failure.

I think that the question is unanswerable in its present form. In my not so humble opinion, it is neither. It is a joke.  I am one of those who enjoy the process and see humour in it instead of getting worked up about the outcomes.

The winning side always faces criticism from the losing side which blames everything else under the sun other than its own shortcomings for its loss.  The losing side is lampooned by all kinds of pundits for being incapable of taking on the winning side.

This is more than amply illustrated by the joke that has been doing the social media rounds the last few weeks. “The USA has now realised that it is easier to get rid of foreign presidents than their own.”

There are other countries which, after election results are announced claim that the candidate has been selected and not elected.

And others where the whole world knows that the elections are rigged but, they are held nevertheless and the winner hailed.

The oldest democracy and the largest democracy in the world recently had two elections almost at the same time. The former to elect its President and the latter to bring in a new legislature and government to a large state.

Both had one significant thing in common. The losers refused to accept their losses and the following two cartoons say more than I could ever say.

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In the lower cartoon, Tejaswi Yadav the loser in India’s Bihar is blaming Rahul Gandhi whose party and the former’s party jointly fought the elections together against the winning combination. The text says – “What sanitiser have you used that victory slipped away from our hands?”

I do not wish to say anything more about the American democracy but, will about the Indian one.  To start with let me reproduce a quote from Winston Churchill.  “If independence is granted to India Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre & men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.”

This was during a debate in the British parliament in 1947.  Since then a lot of water has flowed down the Thames and India has survived for over 77 years as a  democracy  except for a short aberration between 1975 and 1977. It has had its share of heroes and villains like all the other democracies of the world.

I quote a bit from a incisive article by an eminent writer of India – “In popular Western narrative, India wasn’t expected to make it in one piece, much less emerge as the world’s fifth largest economy.”

In the meanwhile, it is interesting to note that Britain, the so called mother of democracies is supposed to be facing a crisis of democracy!

Do you now see why I think that democracy is a joke?

This is my contribution to this week’s Friday 8 On 1 blog post topic. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman , Srinivas and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Raju. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Book Review – Home Fire.

I do not normally review books that I read but, when I read something extraordinary, I do. Kamila Shamsie‘s Home Fire comes under this category. I came across this book by accident and bought it at the recommendation of another avid reader friend and I am glad that I did.

The story as accepted by the author is based on the play Antigone and the characters in the book are all named with names similar to those of the play.

The story is about two families of British citizens of Pakistani origin who get trapped in problems of the modern world of terrorism.

Character portrayal is simply brilliant and the conflicting emotions of being Muslim, modern and British with roots in Pakistan are brought out vividly. The background is all too familiar for people who are abreast of what is happening in Britain vis a vis its Muslim population and I for one could not put the book down once I started reading it.

A very unusual treatment of a very troubling situation skilfully articulated by the author, I recommend it to my readers who are readers too.

It is available on both hard copy and kindle formats and I read it on my kindle. At some future date, I intend reading it again. I also intend reading all other books by the author.

Politics.

“No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.”

~ Thomas Sowell

As we begin the new year, to me at least, it appears that we are heading to a period of calm after the storm of a year of political turmoil in many parts of the world. We had Brexit, The USA’s Presidential elections, impeachment of the President of South Korea, Italian elections, etc, and in my own backyard, the high decibel politics due to the demonetisation.

While all these things and many more minor political shenanigans took place, what grabbed the maximum attention, naturally due to its global importance is the electioneering, the election and the result of the American President.

Over here in India, the political oneupmanship following the demonetisation continues unabated. Addding spice to the curry as it were are forth coming elections in some crucial states in India for the state legislatures. The cacophony is mind blowing and within my circle of friends, some rifts have taken place due to differing ideologies and loyalties. Politics and religion does that! I am grateful that the latter has not popped up as yet among us!

To conclude on a lighter note, India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh goes to the polls shortly and the dynasty that has been ruling there is facing a palace revolt as it were.  Mulayam Singh Yadav is the patriarch and the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is his son.  The joke is that Mulayam is suffering from Akhilesh’s Heels.

Since I will be otherwise preoccupied tomorrow,  I am publishing this this week’s Friday LBC post a day in advance.  The topic has been chosen by Shackman. Other than him and me, Maria the gaelikaa and Pravin are likely to write on the same topic. Please do drop in at their blogs and see what they have to say about it.

Names Of Places.

I am fascinated by strange names of people and places. We have enough of them in India to keep me fascinated for ever. Unfortuanately they are all in Indian languages which will need some major translation work for me for this post. For example Kukadpally is a suburb of Hyderabad which means Village Of the Cocks. Historically, it was famous for its fighting cocks. Yes, Cockfighting is a much followed ‘sport’ in India despite it being illegal.

British names however are something special and my fascination with them started with my first introduction to Middlesex. I have come a long way from those teen age days, but I still keep coming up with odd names that arouse my curiosity. Grannymar, knowing my fascination for them, has sent me a link that is out of this world.

There are others who appear to share this fascination with me in Britain and one site that does it well has this on it.

I hope that my British readers will come up with other interesting names! I am sure that the USA, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand too must have some, for they all have English connections. It will be interesting to read about them.

Hell.

Welcome to another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar. Quite why, I will never be able to figure out.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My idea of hell is what Europe, particularly the UK will be like, if the messages in these nine photographs taken in London, of British citizens achieve what they propose. These photographs were taken during a “Religion of peace demonstration” taken out by British citizens.

That is why, before what I love becomes hell, I want to visit.

To me, many of these citizens of a country on whose model our own democracy is built, seem already to be  in hell.  I wonder if they are dreaming of the time that they can go to that heaven that they are promised by their religious teachers.

Providence? Serendipity? After I wrote the post and before it could be published, I came across this article in the Independent. My best wishes to the UK in their endeavours to protect themselves from terrorists,

To change the mood somewhat after that rant, here is a true story that snopes says appeared in ‘The People’ paper, that should cheer my readers up a bit.

Iraqi terrorist, Khay Rahnajet, didn’t pay enough postage on a letter bomb. It came back with “return to sender” stamped on it. Forgetting it was the bomb, he opened it and was blown to bits.